Notes from Mom: Whiling Away the Guilt-Free Hours

Note: This is part of a series of occasional guest posts from my wife, Amy, who swoops in to give us a working wife’s perspective on parenting.

April 30, 2011

The child is barking behind me. And I don’t mean she’s shouting at me. I mean she is barking, like a dog. I’m just trying to put her pants back on. Finally clothed, again she says, “Can I wear mama’s red shoes now?” She really shouldn’t. She’ll probably fall down in two seconds. But I say, “Yes, go look for them,” and send her away. The chance that I could have 20 or 30 seconds to myself is tantalizing.

Yes child, go to the closet and rifle through my clothing. Do whatever you like, just give me a half a minute of peace.

Soon enough, I’ll feel guilty and realize I need to be actively paying attention to her. And not just because she might injure herself in the heels she has no business wearing. As a working mom, I usually only see her a few hours a day. I should be savoring every moment of this Saturday time together. I should be playing dress-up with her, spinning in circles with her—all the things she loves to do. I love it; too; but at the same time, I crave to be alone.

There’s far too much self-induced guilt that comes with motherhood.

I often scheme about how to get an hour to myself without feeling guilty. Today’s guiltless hour was spent at the salon. I needed a haircut. And I can’t take the kid, so therefore I can’t feel guilty. The escape of flipping through US Weekly while someone else washes then cuts my hair is just heavenly. I savor every conversation with my hairdresser from chatting about the royal wedding, to her daughter’s birthday party, to what movie she’s seeing that evening. I don’t want it to end.

But my guiltless hour is soon over. Her next client has arrived and I must go home. I contemplate some justified shopping, but decide against it. Besides, I already miss the kid.

While I’ve been writing, she’s paraded back and forth with about ten different pairs of giant shoes that dwarf her tiny feet. Each time she beams proudly for a moment then exclaims, “They’re not great,” and flings the shoes to the ground. Now the news she shares brings me back from my mental vacation. “Mom, I made a mess of the closet. I’m sorry.”

Okay, back to it. Soon, I will scheme about my next guilt-free hour.

3 thoughts on “Notes from Mom: Whiling Away the Guilt-Free Hours

Add yours

  1. Yup, that just about sizes up raising little ones.
    But how can you help not loving those knees!!!!
    When my oldest boy. The terror of my motherhood-youth, the one who’s first words were “no you shut-up” finally and I mean…finally…went to bed I was destroyed! I could nearly cry with relief!
    Then a voice.
    “Mommy can I come get some water.” said in quick succesion 30 times.
    How I hated to give up even a second of the peace and quiet.
    Finally I would give in with the guilt ridden image of my dehydrated 3 year old son parched and listless in the morning.
    He would emerge “pearly victorious” riding his tricycle to the bathroom for a drink, use the toilet, spill something, climb on something hurt himself stick sanitary pads to the walls and other misc. mischief. Oh god I thought he would never grow up.
    He did.
    I actually like him now.
    Yours looks and sounds like a peach!
    Enjoy her.
    It could be worse.


    1. Thanks. And we do (enjoy her). She is precious, and yes, it could always be worse. It’s just difficult to remember that when she gets up at 5 AM every morning. 😉


  2. I can relate to this post. Sometimes I remind myself that the guilt I feel when I have “me” time means I care. Finding balance is hard but it’s important. You summed it up beautifully.


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